Equity apologises to Laurence Fox over ‘disgrace’ comment

Actors’ union Equity has apologised for calling Laurence Fox a “disgrace” after his appearance on Question Time.

The comment was made in a series of tweets in January after the ex-Lewis star, 41, discussed the media’s treatment of Meghan Markle.

Equity has now said “it did not intend to suggest that the actor should be denied the ability to work”.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the union said: “We are sorry that in the tweets he was called a ‘disgrace’ by Equity.

“It was a mistake for Equity as an organisation to criticise him in this way.

“Nothing in Equity’s later statement was intended as a slur on his character or views, or to suggest that he should be denied the ability to work. We would like to make that clear.

“Equity and Laurence Fox condemn prejudice unequivocally in all its forms.”

Fox had complained to his fans that “Equity called (amongst other things) for actors to denounce me”.

He added: “This has been very hard to deal with, given that members weren’t polled before these tweets were sent out.”

Following the apology, he said: “Hopefully this might an opportunity for us to continue to celebrate diversity in all its forms. Including diversity of opinion.”

Responding to a claim from an audience member that the media’s treatment of Meghan amounted to “racism”, Fox had responded: “It’s not racism … we’re the most tolerant, lovely country in Europe.

“It’s so easy to throw the charge of racism and it’s really starting to get boring now.”

The audience member then described Fox as a “white, privileged male”, to which he responded “to call me a white, privileged male is to be racist”.

The episode received more than 250 complaints and sparked a social media backlash, which Fox called “water off a duck’s back”.

Fox, who was previously married to actress Billie Piper, said he had received death threats and had suffered from “temporary insomnia” after his appearance.

He later hit out at black and working class actors for complaining about the industry once they have “five million quid in the bank” before saying he was signing off Twitter because “I have to turn this noise off for a while”.

The tweets calling Fox a “disgrace” were posted by Equity’s Minority Ethnic Members Committee.

It later posted: “It is with deep regret that, following EquityUK’s statement this morning, all members of Equity’s recently renamed Race Equality Committee (formerly the Equity Minority Ethnic Members Committee) feel we have no choice but to resign as committee members.”